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Between The Buried And Me - The Silent Circus CD (album) cover

THE SILENT CIRCUS

Between The Buried And Me

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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4 stars this is one of the best metal bands i ever discovered. I was watching an underground metal program and they did a segment on the new metal bands coming out and the video for mordecai blew me away. Beware though this is definitely METAL influenced in the songwriting aspect by prog. The musicianship is astounding on all aspects, but the lyrics can be foul on certain songs. If they would throw out those certain song lyrics i would really be into this band a whole lot more.
Report this review (#115084)
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Between the Buried and Me's second album, The Silent Circus finds them maturing into a more experimental/artistic version of an extreme metal band. This album builds on the technical intensity and diversity of mood found on their first album. The lineup on this album contains only chief songwriters Tommy (now adding synthesizer to the mix) and Paul from the previous version of the band. In typical BtB&M fashion, the intensity of the music is offset by quieter, more beautiful and emotional passages. This strange mix is what impresses me most about the band, and convinces me that they are on the forefront of a new movement marrying extreme, experimental, and emotional forms of music.

The music on this album is even more intense than their 1st, and is comparable to their 3rd album Alaska. This album is filled with technically intense and aggressive riffing-- sometimes non-descript for the first few listens, but is offset nicely by more catchy riffs. As soon as you feel lost in the chaos, the band locks into something you can move to. Also present in the music is their trademark contrast between dark intensity and spatial beauty (probably 60%/30% if I had to ball park it).

The synthesizer has a prominent role in more spatial, ambient sections of songs, which adds a new aspect to their music. The synth sounds are absent from most of the intense sections, which I think shows good discretion (sometimes synth is a cheesy addition to intense portions of music).

The lyrics are frequently written in a stream-of-consciousness style or dream narrative. There is a darkness to the lyrics, more so than on Alaska. The first 2 tracks (parts a & b of the same song-cycle, Lost Perfection) apparently describe a crazy dream, including all the mixed up details that don't make sense to the concious mind. One of the most testosterone-boosting moments of the album is during the 2nd part when the music pauses and Tommy screams "Death is in the air," at which point the band launches into a heavily palm-muted maniacal, menacing riff. The song "Mordacai" seems to be their most popular from this album, and I think most succinctly embodies their talent and creativity. It starts off intensely, gets quiet with a cool, jazzy guitar solo, and then a powerful, emotional ending.

To jump forward and compare this album with their 3rd, Alaska, I think they're of equal quality (this one really is as good as Alaska) in all aspects: songwriting, performance and production. However, I would still recommend Alaska first to the inquirer, because this album has a higher concentration of extreme metal intensity and has somewhat darker/more critical lyrical content. If you liked Alaska, or if you're already comfortable with extreme metal, this would be a great purchase. The later versions of the CD also contain a bonus DVD with live footage of at least 5 or 6 songs, some of which are from Alaska-which makes the package well worth the purchase.

Report this review (#120739)
Posted Friday, May 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now we're talkin'...

Here, BtBaM take a somewhat drastic turn from their first release. This is definately a Progressive album, though one that shows room for improvement. However, what they did do to improve their style, they did right. Gone are the unchanging "Wall of sound" songs, and synthesizers are added to the mix for an interesting, almost sinister feel to some of the songs, rather than just angry. The experimentation and addition of styles makes for a unique album, especially amongst the rest of their "scene", in this case, Metalcore. The softer, even placid passages are added to the extremely heavy mix of the music, and while the changes in the songs can seem rather drastic, and I admit, they are, they add a certain cohesiveness to the album.

But, don't take the fact that they added synths, accoustic passages and softer sections to their music as an indicator that this is for everyone, as it is decidedly not. This is a very heavy, agressive and angy sounding album. There are some killer jazzy guitars, accoustic guitars and layered synthesizers in this album, but first and foremost a progressive metal album, or more specifically "Extreme Progressive Metal". The lyrics are very dark and fit the music perfectly, though most, including myself would be lucky to understand a large portion of them without the lyrics in front of you. The vocals are harsh, abrasive and could easily put anyone off to the music.

All in all, a solid album, by a developing band. With this album's release, the band's ermerging maturity begins to show, and the attempts to do something unique and interesting against a background of cookie cutter metal bands. Musicianship is top notch, and the whole album flows very well. The last track even has a bit of humor added to it, to show, at least the band can avoid taking itself too seriously.

3.5 Stars

Report this review (#141011)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Although their debut album was already a very progressive form of metalcore, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME really upped their game on their second release THE SILENT CIRCUS. Part of this was in the drumming duty exchange of percussionists as Will Goodyear parted ways and Mark Castillo joined the noisefest, but the biggest change is in the inclusion of various other metal and non-metal styles to the mix. On this one there are unexpected outbursts of all types of bizarre contrasting genres that can last for a few seconds (like marching band drumming) or go off into a whole lengthy sequence (such as atmospheric indie rock). If that wasn't enough the music just seems more extreme and the songwriting is better as well although i personally find the debut eponymous release to be of fairly high quality in the songwriting as well, it's just that the band managed to find new ways to spice up the music and make the tracks stand on their own unlike the debut where the formula became a tad repetitive by the time the end neared.

This is the typically progressive metalcore that BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME delivers on all their earlier albums but with more weirdness than the debut. There are moments of extreme metal riffs that have the most messed up time sigs possible, moments of the bass slinking up and down the scales like a possessed caterpillar from hell and Tommy Rogers screams like an alien is bursting out of his stomach. This is really as extreme as this type of metal can get and that's exactly why i like it so much! While upon first listen this may sound like the typical metalcore with a few tricks and gimmicky trinkets thrown in for good measure, the band manages to create a huge variety of riff attacks, bass lines, drum rolls and screaming frenzies with various genre hopping escapes into clean vocal alternative metal, atmospheric space prog reminding me a bit of Porcupine Tree with bluesy melodic guitar solos and then can hop, skip and jump into extreme mathcore such as by headache masters Psyopus.

A giant leap in their technique proved BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME weren't just your run of the mill extreme metal band. They display all the fury and energetic prowess of the most hardcore bands in the biz but they equally show off their love of progressive rock and pull it off with ease, both in playing the prog and metal simultaneously and apart. All these meanderings keep the album from getting stale and one dimensional throughout the entire ten tracks. While the tracks can seem jittery and ever changing, the final track "The Need For Repetition" offers a nice groove metal type of riff that repeats and casts a hypnotic spell. One of the things i dislike about this album is that it has one of those annoying pointless hidden tracks after track ten and several minutes of silence which is basically just a rant with some thrash metal and a guitar solo backing up the riffs. Not as good as later albums like "Colors" but still an excellent album for those who like their metalcore decorated with nice proggy frosting.

Report this review (#1592756)
Posted Friday, July 29, 2016 | Review Permalink

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